Review: Tim & Myles Thompson – Time4Me2Go

Tim and Myles Thompson from Nashville Tennessee have had a busy year.

Extensive touring throughout the American South, and West, and the release of their 4th CD TIME4ME2GO shines the live-action spotlight on heartfelt, original acoustic music from this talented father and son duo.

Tim is a well-known guitarist and singer in the Nashville music scene, and has been collaborating with his violin playing son Myles as a musical peer for most of Myles “adult” life. Tim won the International Fingerstyle championships at Winfield in 2007 and came back to place second there in 2008. He is the owner of Hidden Giant Music, and records music for the label in his own project studio. Time4Me2Go captures the duo’s dramatic performance in clear, balanced fidelity readily at home on high-end stereo equipment, in the car, or via music player headphones. Everything about this release points to a live music setting. Tim and Myles provide all of the vocals and instrumentation on the recording, there are no special effects or processing that color the performance and at 41 minutes long, this first-time listener felt like he had a front row seat to an exciting live set of original acoustic music.

There are many different stylistic elements that appear during the course of the all-original songs. Sonic colors of rock, fusion jazz, gypsy jazz, traditional folk and singer-songwriter are some of the terms that come to mind. The songs were written exclusively, or in partnership with others, by Tim, with one track written by Myles. Throughout the recording Tim and Myles demonstrate skillful, challenging interplay and dramatic arranged melodic lines between vocal verses. A testament to both Tim and Myles musical abilities, each track on Time4Me2Go sounds full, well arranged and never boring or pedestrian. In particular, Myles violin playing offers some unique technique that is not readily seen in popular music. He can accompany Tim as a rhythm player, playing very similar patterns to Tim’s rhythm guitar playing. Fiddle players in Bluegrass bands play the ‘chop’ on beats 2 and 4 when not breaking or playing melody parts. Myles goes way beyond this, and can play rhythmic patterns that fully support Tim’s single line improvisations and solos. It really caught my ear while listening.

Time4Me2Go launches the show with a rocking blues number called “I Ain’t Goin Down.” Myles acoustic violin is intriguingly reminiscent of an electric guitar at times. The energy is maintained into “If That Wasn’t Love” featuring dramatic solo lines, and some exciting precision interplay between the two. Tim’s energetic guitar playing produces some buzzing strings on this track, which for me resulted in an interesting observation. What might be a distraction to some, especially the guitar luthiers out there (“That guitar needs a setup!”) actually provides musical texture and timbre to the performance. It is not unlike the distorted tone of an electric rock guitar. Guitarist Michael Daves, Chris Thile’s musical duo partner, demonstrated this sound at a Greyfox Festival workshop recently as an intended part of his playing. The third track on Time4Me2Go brings us into a nice, contemplative space, in which Myle’s provides an effective, rhythmic pulsing on violin as backing to Tim’s vocals. The title track “Time For Me To Go” follows next, delivering a searching, compelling mood that thematically hearkens back to Led Zeppelin’s famous acoustic/electric song “Ramble On.” This track really shows what the duo is capable of, with more top notch, virtuosic instrumental playing, great shared vocal performance and that fascinating way Myles has of “comping” on violin for his dad. There is a good video of this track being performed live by Tim and Myles on their website.

“That Ain’t My Style”

“Overdrive” is the first instrumental track of the recording, and is written by Myles. Angular, poignant melody lines run, jump and dance around a driving rhythm while being passed back and forth between the players, in what could be called ‘Acoustic Shred!’ Track 6 – “That Ain’t My Style” – gives us a breather but is no less engaging with a catchy chorus that invites the listener to sing along, over nicely paced rhythm. “This Town” is another higher energy tune with great guitar/violin arrangement. Remembering that Tim and Myles perform these songs live prompts the thought that it must be tricky to sing at the same time as playing the more complex accompanying guitar part. “I’m Gonna Live” keeps the program moving and is a standout example of wood, steel, nylon and horsehair all being in balance on the recording. Reminding us of the opener we heard at the beginning, Track 9, “Being Me,” delivers a straight ahead but no less effective blues-rock performance, and clears the palate for an unusual but fantastic ending track. “Cat Tastrophy” is a marvelous, swinging, four-to-the-bar guitar comping instrumental gypsy jazz piece. Fantastic rhythmic violin from Myles and all of the choppy-smooth tension and release interplay you want from this style of music. I’m sure this one must be a real crowd pleaser at Tim and Myles’ concerts. It certainly made me want to hear more!

More about Tim and Myles Thompson can be found on their website (purchase Time4Me2Go at the website Store). For frequent gig and activity information, follow Tim and Myles at their Facebook site.

Hidden Giant Music

Steve Schreiber

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